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You Only Live Twice 

click to enlarge Portland sextet Abronia brings its longform, psychedelically-tinged tunes to Siren's Song Tavern on Monday.

Photo by Mof

Portland sextet Abronia brings its longform, psychedelically-tinged tunes to Siren's Song Tavern on Monday.

It's midsummer, which means I have been engaging in my regular seasonal habits when I am not working. These more or less boil down to going to the river, looking at my bank account and thinking about traveling, reading in my backyard and going to the river again. However, there is something that I do in the evening at least once this time of year — well, there are quite a few things, but this is one that I am willing to discuss publicly — and that is a re-watch, with at least one friend or closer person involved, of the French comedy M. Hulot's Holiday.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the film, which introduced the world to Jacques Tati's delightful, bumbling, mostly wordless, titular character; a vital link between Buster Keaton and Mr. Bean. As the sharper readers out there have probably noticed, time — in this dimension, anyway — runs in only one direction, and each year brings us further away from the memories of what we imagine of our past experiences. So any annual tradition is going to invite comparisons, and the loathsome feeling called nostalgia that I try at all costs to avoid. That quote from the 18th Brumaire about history repeating itself first as tragedy then as farce happily doesn't apply to watching this delightful little film, whose silent comedic farcity is the centerpiece around whose edges a mild sense of wistful ennui gathers like shadows as the vacation, and summer, itself, draws to a close.

Much like how Plato's Republic follows a narrative path from down to up in the geographic action of the plot, as well as the philosophical ideation of the core concepts within, M. Hulot's Holiday introduces us to the night and its separate offering of events away from the bright, sunshine diversions of the ocean beach, just as the film begins its trek toward the final act. The only tragedy found in repeated viewings of this beautiful and hilarious little film is the memory of those from whom time has robbed us of the opportunity for just one more watch together. That's correct, though, as the back-end of summer's idyll promise is the knowledge that decay comes to every flower, and silence to every bee and bird. We would be frozen in dull, adipose pleasure if warm leisure was our only experience. That being said, protect what leisure you have, expand on it ruthlessly, and know that it is as precious as it is fleeting. If there is one thing that lives in the heart of every good person, it is the desire for us all to get the most joy out of life as is possible, and to burn down the institutions and rulers who steal our priceless time. With that in mind, go get some.


Fieldbrook Winery continues its summer concert series — Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons — with a 5:30 p.m. performance by local bluegrass act Fickle Hill. The performance is free for those with table reservations.


St. Croix reggae singer Dezarie is more than two decades into a recording and touring career that has gained her a considerable following among the global roots and reggae community. Tonight at Humbrews, she returns to the area to share her music with her Humboldt fandom, who will likely remember her from the good old Reggae on the River days of years past. Local group Irie Rockerz provides support. 9 p.m. ($30, $25 advance).


The students may be gone, but university-adjacent venue Blondies is still running a hot summer schedule. Portland's new-new wave dance band Rad Max is joining forces with local garage duo Clean Girl and the Dirty Dishes and Think Tank for a night of (mostly) dancefloor fun. There's a $5-$10 sliding scale door price and a tentative start time of 8 p.m., the rest is up to you.


The Siren's Song Tavern is hosting a fun retro pop and surf rock show, with The Snares and The California Poppies providing the former, while The Starhoppers dip into the latter genre. The sun will still be out for this 7 p.m. show and $10 at the door leaves you with some beer money if you budgeted your weekend well.


Speaking of the Siren's Song Tavern and shows whose start time promises a bit of evening sunshine over the nearby water, 8 p.m. is a good time to return to port to check out a very cool gig to help inaugurate your work week. Portland sextet Abronia plays longform, psychedelically-tinged soundtrack tunes fit for the vast deserts of the haunted mind. The band is joined tonight by two very fitting local co-conspirators, the excellent Cardboard and one of my all-time favs, Blackplate. This show is my undisputed pick of the week, and if you are a fan of outré soundscapes and heavy, frozen noise floes, this one is not to be missed. ($5-$10 sliding scale).


Savage Henry Comedy Club is hosting Show Up, Go Up night, which means that when the doors open at 9 p.m., the first eight comedians to show up and sign-up are the night's featured performers, allotted 10 minutes apiece to share their wares. For the rest of you, $5 helps keep the lights on, which is now perhaps more important than ever given the recent serious health scare of owner Chris Durant. If you like this local comedy venue — and who but the terminally unsmiling among us doesn't — come do your part.


There's an early noise night going down at the Miniplex tonight at 6 p.m., with Seattle's very tight, no wave improv act CSTMR joining forces with local drum and synth duo MIDI KITI. Also on the bill is rarely-seen-live, one-man-band Makeshift Kink, whose YouTube and Bandcamp album I reviewed earlier this month. A $5-$10 sliding scale door price seems to have become a local standard, which seems reasonable to me, especially considering how far away Seattle is by band van. Viva.

Collin Yeo (he/him) believes Cliff Booth did indeed kill his wife and is also the hero of the film. He lives in 2023 Arcata, which is quite a ways away from the Hollywood of 1969.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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